Forum Thread

Stephanie Kelton Bloomberg Columnist

Reply to ThreadDisplaying 1 - 15 of 24 1 2 Next
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Modern Monetary Theory economist, Professor at Stony Brooke University, lead scholar of the Sanders Institute, former Chief Economist for the Minority on the Senate Budget Committee and lead economist for the Bernie Sanders campaign, Dr Stephanie Kelton is now also a Bloomberg and New York Times columnist and has inked a major book deal.

    She is the defacto intellectual leader of Progressive Democrats and has the ear of a growing cadre of Democratic legislators and candidates. MMT is the only coherent Macroeconomic school and our students, professors, and lay activists can run circles around even the best trained mainstream economic PhD doctorates.

    The list of MMT knowledgeable candidates and incumbent legislators is now in the triple digits (I’m working on getting a full list made).

    Here’s Stephanie’s inaugural Bloomberg column.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-03-19/use-fiscal-policy-not-the-fed-to-fight-the-next-recession

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    What is your or MMT's position on the effect of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act and Graham Leach Bliley Act?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Carlitos -- Glad to see Stephanie getting broader exposure. Now she can butt heads with Paul Krugman at the NYT. I read her article and she highlights the pending problems for the next recession. As we've discussed, if Democrats are in power, the Republicans (and some Democrats) will be screaming bloody murder about the debt. But on the other hand as she and others have noted, monetary policy (more exotic forms of QE) have limitations. So fiscal policy may be it...more deficit spending than the Great Recession. That will provide more opportunistic politicizing for many politicians and the public needing to assign blame.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Depends on who you talk to but “banks” should be ‘vanilla’ and simply make loans that ‘fit in a box’ designed by Congress and take deposits so people have access to the payment system. That’s it. So you have to tell the banks you can do defined X and nothing else. In other words, you don’t start by saying the banks can’t trade derivatives. They can just do X, nothing else is allowed. Otherwise, the regulation will always play catch up. Derivatives should not be a part of X. That’s not vanilla banking.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Democrats have to deflate the political football.
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Carlitos:

    "So you have to tell the banks you can do defined X and nothing else."

    How do you tell banks? Sounds like Glass/Steagall type legislation.

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    There has to be a defined limit on leverage. The housing bubble was an example of 2nd and 3rd and maybe more functions of profiting on a basic loan. Limit of the function could be the last penny of profit to be made. The housing bubble went beyond the last penny and into the future. There has to be a legally defined real limit. Criminalize all functions beyond the last penny of real money.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Chet, “banks” are agents of the govt, very much like govt contractors. Anyone who says differently is ignorant or a subversive.

    Banking requires credible deposit insurance, and the only credible source is the sovereign immortal federal govt. if govt does the insurance, but doesn’t regulate, that leads to moral hazard. The govt also has to fund the banks as the govt is the only source for clearing balances.

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Carlitos, I know MMT is descriptive but are you permitted expressions about operational theory. I am solely and devotedly interested in money Velocity.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Chet, I'm going to explain something and I don't want your head to explode.

    The velocity of money in a real sense does not matter. It can't be negative except by rate of change, and with a minimum limit. Zero money of velocity means there is no monetary economy or its 'frozen still' and you can't have less than no monetary economy or a 'frozen still' monetary economy.

    The velocity of money is like saying how many times do dollars spent into existence by government, government lending, and lending by government agents bounce back and forth between users of the currency after the initial government injection? Each subsequent transaction generates tax, savings, and repayment by debtors to the government and /or government agents. We can call these "demand leakages." At some finite round of spending with positive demand leakages (and it does not make sense for demand leakages to be negative), the total demand leakages = the original amount spent into existence, and there are no subsequent rounds of spending by users generated by the initial dollar spending by the issuer and its agents. No matter how big this demand leakage drain, government can always spend or lend and/or fund its agents to lend more. We can have a booming or depressed economy despite lower or higher rates of change in the velocity of money.

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Carlitos Wrote:

    Chet, I'm going to explain something and I don't want your head to explode.

    The velocity of money in a real sense does not matter. It can't be negative except by rate of change, and with a minimum limit. Zero money of velocity means there is no monetary economy or its 'frozen still' and you can't have less than no monetary economy or a 'frozen still' monetary economy.

    The velocity of money is like saying how many times do dollars spent into existence by government, government lending, and lending by government agents bounce back and forth between users of the currency after the initial government injection? Each subsequent transaction generates tax, savings, and repayment by debtors to the government and /or government agents. We can call these "demand leakages." At some finite round of spending with positive demand leakages (and it does not make sense for demand leakages to be negative), the total demand leakages = the original amount spent into existence, and there are no subsequent rounds of spending by users generated by the initial dollar spending by the issuer and its agents. No matter how big this demand leakage drain, government can always spend or lend and/or fund its agents to lend more. We can have a booming or depressed economy despite lower or higher rates of change in the velocity of money.

    Thbanks for the consideration about my head and I must apologize for saying velocity when my thoughts were about the supply of money and increasing the supply of money. I consider money being used in a dynamic capacity to be useful . I consider money in a static state to be useless . I am for increasing the supply of money to be used in dynamic transactions and I erroneously characterized that as increasing the velocity. The money in static state would be money used to secure positions on non productive transactions and that would be useless money. I was thinking that money would have zero velocity when I should be saying unavailable or decreasing the supply of money. I think it is axiomatic that increasing or decreasing the supply of money is relative to the strength or weakness of an economy . My error for conflating velocity and supply.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    Carlitos -- We've had this discussion before with respect to demand leakages. I generally subscribe to your (Warren Mosler view) on demand leakages. However, I might want to push back a bit on Mosler's statement:

    "So why the ‘demand leakages’? The lion’s share is due to tax advantages for not spending your income, including pension contributions, IRA’s, and all kinds of corporate reserves. Then there’s foreign hoards accumulated to support foreign exporters. And it all should be a very good thing- net unspent income like that means that for a given size govt our taxes can be that much lower. Personally, I’d rather have a tax cut than a policy to get other people to spend their unspent income. But that’s just me…"

    Mosler's last part on rather having a "tax cut" should really have a qualifier on it. It depends on how the tax cut is distributed. The reality is the vast majority of taxes in this country are not demand leakages because the vast majority of taxed money is immediately spent on goods and services for the public welfare. State and local sales and property taxes, for example, are essentially PAYGO (pay as you go) to fund all the services that communities need. And now even the Social Security and Medicare programs are essentially PAYGO with the trust funds being drawn down, these also would no longer be called demand leakages (except for the past money that remains drawing interest).

    The high federal taxes of the 1950s and 60s that went to building our interstate highway system and other public projects like putting a man on the moon added to our prosperity at that time and kept unemployment low.

    I cannot help but observe that the "political winner" of always cutting taxes over the past several decades has resulted in our current dilemma of not having enough revenue to fund infrastructure or other goods and services for the public good. The MMT view would be that deficit spending should be encouraged to make up the shortfall, but can such large deficits really be maintained indefinitely just so the private sector can enjoy low taxes? And if those tax cuts accrue more to the rich and corporations (e.g. Bush tax cuts and Trump tax cuts) don't they result in more demand leakages as the money does not trickle down into the economy? Some is parked in overseas accounts or go to personal savings of the rich. Bruce Bartlett wrote an article in 2013, The Bush Tax Cut Failure. In a few years, he and others will be writing a similar article about the Trump Tax Cut Failure.

    Throw in the fact that the deficits and debt have become a political football, and we seem destined to have shoddy infrastructure forever because "we cannot afford" to spend otherwise. I for one have no problem paying higher taxes as long as I can see it being spent for the public good.

    The point that I am making and asking: In the MMT view, is there a bottom floor on taxes such that lowering them further is no longer beneficial to the economy? It would seem to me we passed that point already because we cannot extract ourselves mentally from thinking of federal budgets as household budgets. That's the reality no matter what Mosler says about "rather having a tax cut". It perhaps made sense when we had the high tax levels of the 1950s and 60s, but does it make sense now when we are already in a perpetual deficit spending mode and not having the political will to spend on projects for the common good because "we cannot afford it".

    My opinion..

  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    "I’d rather have a tax cut than a policy to get other people to spend their unspent income. But that’s just me…""

    Historically didn't tax cuts contribute to unspent income?

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        

    You know the answer to that. Tax cuts for the rich don't really trickle down...the money is not spent but rather largely invested in "whatever"...demand leakage. Tax cuts for the poor are largely spent. Tax cuts for the middle class are partially spent and partially tacked away in an IRA, 401K or other savings accounts -- also a form of demand leakage.

    "Cutting taxes" is a term that has a wide swath, but seems to have populist appeal. People need to understand just what "tax cuts" mean, and how it affects them rather than just hopping on the populist bandwagon.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Schmidt Wrote:

    Carlitos -- We've had this discussion before with respect to demand leakages. I generally subscribe to your (Warren Mosler view) on demand leakages. However, I might want to push back a bit on Mosler's statement:

    "So why the ‘demand leakages’? The lion’s share is due to tax advantages for not spending your income, including pension contributions, IRA’s, and all kinds of corporate reserves. Then there’s foreign hoards accumulated to support foreign exporters. And it all should be a very good thing- net unspent income like that means that for a given size govt our taxes can be that much lower. Personally, I’d rather have a tax cut than a policy to get other people to spend their unspent income. But that’s just me…"

    Mosler's last part on rather having a "tax cut" should really have a qualifier on it. It depends on how the tax cut is distributed. The reality is the vast majority of taxes in this country are not demand leakages because the vast majority of taxed money is immediately spent on goods and services for the public welfare. State and local sales and property taxes, for example, are essentially PAYGO (pay as you go) to fund all the services that communities need. And now even the Social Security and Medicare programs are essentially PAYGO with the trust funds being drawn down, these also would no longer be called demand leakages (except for the past money that remains drawing interest).

    Generally speaking, taxes are considered part of demand leakages. But I understand the problem you have with that.

    Here's maybe one way to get your mind to see it right:

    If we think about the faucet, sink, and drain example, with the faucet being government spending/lending(including lending by agents of the government), the water in the sink being the dollars in the economy, and the drain being the demand leakages, if it helps, you could add in little pipes that capture some of the water going down the drain and pump it back to the faucet, that would be the tax revenue flowing back to the government. You could also add in other pipes that capture loan repayments to the government and the agents of the government, and pipe that back to flow back out of the faucet as well. But the water in the pipes is not 'in the sink', it's outside of the sink, and there's always going to be this water outside of the sink in those pipes, as this thing has a continuous flow, or there would be no water in the sink and therefore nothing going out the drain. So there's always this leakage or flow back into government accounts. The dollars collected in tax revenue are not spent immediately; there's a lag in the real world, where the government accounts pool the dollars before being spent back into the economy. Same goes for loan repayments.

    The danger is taking this example too literal. Water is a finite resource, and in the real world what goes down drains is what comes out of faucets. So you have to think of the water being drained and not piped back as going nowhere, and some portion of the water coming out of the faucet as being from an unlimited source of water (which is the original source of all the water in and flowing out of the system).

    The high federal taxes of the 1950s and 60s that went to building our interstate highway system and other public projects like putting a man on the moon added to our prosperity at that time and kept unemployment low.

    Back in those days, we didn't run trade deficits and foreigners weren't draining dollars out of the system. Opposite was the case, we had trade surpluses and were collecting foreign currency and gold. Inflation was also more of problem in those days as well, as export economies have a natural inflationary bias due to the fact that real resources are drained from the domestic economy.

    We also didn’t have a giant rent seeking, parasitic, exotic financial system. But a bunch of racist vanilla banks.

    I cannot help but observe that the "political winner" of always cutting taxes over the past several decades has resulted in our current dilemma of not having enough revenue to fund infrastructure or other goods and services for the public good. The MMT view would be that deficit spending should be encouraged to make up the shortfall, but can such large deficits really be maintained indefinitely just so the private sector can enjoy low taxes? And if those tax cuts accrue more to the rich and corporations (e.g. Bush tax cuts and Trump tax cuts) don't they result in more demand leakages as the money does not trickle down into the economy? Some is parked in overseas accounts or go to personal savings of the rich. Bruce Bartlett wrote an article in 2013, The Bush Tax Cut Failure. In a few years, he and others will be writing a similar article about the Trump Tax Cut Failure.

    If a tax increase just removes savings from the economy, what was the point of the tax?

    There are other purposes for taxes beside aggregate demand managements, and reducing wealth inequality can be a legitimate purpose, but I would rather focus on the "pre-distribution" and the government actions/interventions that enable the super wealthy to become so wealthy in the first place. Clawing back inequality with one hand, caused by government actions with the other hand, is not an efficient way of doing things. Once the wealthy become wealthy they will fight those tax increases tooth and nail and corrupt the political process to prevent them. America's super wealthy are the largest welfare queens in human history on the face of the planet. No nation has ever given so much to so few for so little in return.

    Also, a bit of history, it's probably Warren Mosler's fault we got the 2nd Bush Tax Cut. Back in 2003, the Bush admin was contemplating another round of tax cuts, but there was unease about what it would do to the deficit. Andy Card brought Warren Mosler to the White House to explain MMT and he advocated for a payroll tax cut (which is the type of bottom up tax cut he favors, not the trickle down supply side nonsense). They didn't do a payroll tax cut, but not a week after the meeting, Bush was on TV saying "I don't worry about numbers on pieces of paper, I worry about jobs!" He was channeling Abba Lerner and probably didn't know it. Bush would not veto a single spending bill thru the rest of his presidency.

    You also ask if deficit can be maintained indefinitely? So long as the domestic and foreign sectors attempt to net-save as a whole, the government will always run deficits.

    Throw in the fact that the deficits and debt have become a political football, and we seem destined to have shoddy infrastructure forever because "we cannot afford" to spend otherwise. I for one have no problem paying higher taxes as long as I can see it being spent for the public good.

    The point that I am making and asking: In the MMT view, is there a bottom floor on taxes such that lowering them further is no longer beneficial to the economy? It would seem to me we passed that point already because we cannot extract ourselves mentally from thinking of federal budgets as household budgets. That's the reality no matter what Mosler says about "rather having a tax cut". It perhaps made sense when we had the high tax levels of the 1950s and 60s, but does it make sense now when we are already in a perpetual deficit spending mode and not having the political will to spend on projects for the common good because "we cannot afford it".

    My opinion..

    If taxes were zero, we wouldn't have a credible taxation regime and inflation would spiral until the currency was rejected by users. The government would then not be able to provision itself thru spending the dollars, as there would be no takers willing to sell the government stuff or labor for dollars.

    I don't share your pessimism. People were taught the deficit terrorist nonsense, which is not unlike the propaganda in the Soviet Union or other Communist countries. They told their citizens what to think too, but as Lincoln reminded us "you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

    I don't think I addressed all of your comments directly, but let me know if this has helped.